Going to ‘The Show’ each week recalls QC movie memories, history, milestones


I saw “Passenger” today. It was stellar.

Last week I saw “La La Land.” And despite a rather slow start that leads you to think it’s just going to be just another cliché movie about Los Angeles, it turned out to be very entertaining.

Both movies were intense love stories. I think I need to start watching more love stories. They’re great for healing from trauma, at least for me.

But I would have to say both of the above-mentioned movies probably fall into the category of “B Movie,” a term my dad LOVED to use.

Dad, what are you doing? “Watching some B movie.”

Or we would go to my brother’s for Christmas or Thanksgiving, and John always was thoughtful enough to rent a movie. Dad would say, “What God damned  B movie are we watching this time, Johnny?”

To my dad, everything was a “B Movie.” He never was much of a “glass half-full” person. But he sure did watch lots of movies on TV. I wonder if, just as they are for me, they were an escape for him, and the dreaded disease he always said he had, but no one believed him.

I find myself becoming more and more like both of my parents every day. When I look in the mirror, or gauge how I come off to friendly strangers (or conversely, people who cross me), I see my mother. And let me tell you, she could flip a switch and be two radically different people. My mother was very strong. She was friendly, bubbly (they even called her “Bubbles”). But if you crossed her, she never let you forget it.

Dad, meanwhile, always just seemed to be looking for peace. And I can relate to that feeling, too. I’m finding it at the movies, which I write about a lot these days. Just two weeks ago, I saluted all my Hollywood friends for the hard work they do in this piece I wrote for LinkedIn. I love bragging how my first L.A. roommate, Dale Mayeda, won his first Oscar for “Frozen” last year (special effects). He was renting cars for Enterprise when we moved in together. L.A. really is a magical place for people who work hard.

The Capri in downtown Rock Island: All shows, 99 cents

Another thing about being a born-again movie buff is that it has brought back some very pleasant old memories. The very best memories I have of my mom, dad and I, together, was going to see a movie now and then at the Capri Theater in downtown Rock Island. All shows 99 cents, all the time.

As a kid, I remember thinking, “is Terri Garr in every movie?” Because I remember seeing “Close Encounters” with mom and dad, at the Capri, and really liking it. Then I remember the night we drove up to the Capri, and the marquee said, “Otsi.”

I said, “Otsi. Sounds like science fiction. Let’s see it!”

And dad screams, “Tootsie! Barbara (my mother), it’s ‘Tootsie!’”

Capri marquee “Wheel of Fortune.”

So, we watched “Tootsie.” The three of never laughed so hard, together, in all. Our. Lives. Such a movie was quite groundbreaking back in those days.

Another great movie memory was my friend Shannon Keatley’s birthday party. Her grandma took us to a movie, “Breaking Away,” roller skating at Skate Ranch, and then, Happy Joe’s. Milan was the birthday capital of the Quad-Cities back in the 1970s.

Another unforgettable movie for me was “View to a Kill.” It was my first date. I kissed a girl. I was maybe a junior in high school. I was so nervous. But we had a good time. I won’t embarrass her by name.

Showcase Cinemas, the Memri, the Semri

I remember the Showcase Cinemas in Milan, which is now a Hy-Vee. On the side of the building it said, “Showcase Cinemas 1-2-3-4-5.” Soon, they added a “6 & 7.” I think by the time they shut it down there also was” 8-9-10.”

In the Quad-Cities, we always called seeing a movie, “Going to the show.”

A Showcase Cinemas scandal circulated through Rock Island High School once. Supposedly a guy who got fired from there peed on the popcorn before he left. No idea if that was true or not. Not sure if it made the gossip column of the high school newspaper, the Crimson Crier, called “Herd in the Halls.” Yes, my high school newspaper had a gossip column. No. Idea. How we got by with that!

And who can forget the drive-in theaters. The Memri and the Semri. Supposedly, Memri stood for Milan-East Moline-Rock Island. And the Semri for Silvis-East Moline-Rock Island.

These days, Rave Cinemas 53 in Davenport is “the place” to see movies. Of course, Great Escape (is it still called that?) is on the Illinois side, next to WalMart. But do you know, I NEVER have been inside there. I like Rave so much I just can’t imagine that it could possibly compare. But I will have to check it out.

Rave, to me, is one impressive mega-plex. How many screens do that have in there? Fifteen? It’s a beautiful facility with state-of-the-art everything and the most comfy seats ever. It reminds me of walking aboard a spaceship when I walk in there.

There are so many good movies out right now. I Just love my movie time. It truly is an escape from the troubles of life, if only for 90 minutes or so.

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